Day 1 – Luxembourg
A few months ago we decided to head back to Europe with our good friends Cheap Jazz, this was their first proper tour so we were all pretty excited to be heading out together for the first time, along with our buddy and film maker Phil Formby who agreed to come along and document the tour as well as helping out with some of the driving duties. So all packed and ready we set off for Dover at 5:30pm for the 11:15pm ferry…things got off to a great start and we missed it so had to wait for the next one.
Finally we arrived at the gig in Grevenmacher tired but with everyone in good form. Local band Traffic jam opened the show with some familiar nu metal covers like Break stuff by Limp Bizkit amongst their own songs. Cheap jazz were up next and played a blinder leaving us itching to play and grab the last bit of energy we could muster from the long day, it was alot of fun and we even managed to short the buildings electricity briefly mid set so job done we spent what was left of the night chatting to some friendly locals before heading back to our buddy Mathis’ house for some beers and snacks before we all faded for a much needed sleep.
Day 2 – Antwerp, Belgium
After a comfy sleep in a bed (something that becomes a luxury as the tour progresses) we head back to the sports hall to pick up our gear. We are met by the ever exuberant barman who gives us about 6 bottles of multicoloured vodka. The blue one was best, but they all tasted like cheap mouthwash…not that we’re complaining about free booze! After some coffee whilst watching the mist roll off the hills, Nav takes the wheel of the big red wobbly beast…off to Antwerp.
The first band haven’t played live before, despite being together for 5 years, and do a pretty decent job….can’t remember what they were called though?! After numerous Jupilers and some pure bifta’s its time for Cheap Jazz to do their shit! The sound is great, and people seemed to be digging it, although we royally fucked up our Nirvana cover of Milk It!
Day 3 – Cheb, Czech Republic
Wake up the next morning and 5 hours sleep feels like 5 minutes. Some tasty treats and coffee do the trick….4 countries, 2 bands, 1 Cameraman, 1 van…..off to Cheb (CZ)
This was a very long drive, approx 12 hours consisting of sleeping, eating,smoking, sleeping eating, smoking, repeat for the entire journey but we eventually arrived alot later than anticipated due to the 60mph top speed we could get out of the van to an open fire in the venue and met our host Lukas and his friends. The room was covered wall to wall with old vinyl sleeves including “Cable – Down lift the uptrodden” while videos of The Doors and other psychedelic imagery was projected behind the bands.
After sitting in a van for all that time it was the greatest thing to get on stage and stretch your legs, the sound was great and our set was over before we knew it, then it was time for Alright The Captain, they played hard and heavy and everybody loved it. We all drank a lot of beers and enjoyed some delicious noodles followed by a dance off competition which Chris won hands down, we carried on getting hammered with the ever friendly locals before being taken to our Hotels for the night in what can only be described as a deserted Disneyland. It was so quiet out and about that you could have heard a pin drop. Real beds = good nights sleep.
Day 4 – Leipzig, Germany
Showered and after a strange breakfast in a weird little Cheb cafe we were ready to play our first ever German show so back in the van and off we went, it was a pretty leisurely drive and we arrived in Leipzig pretty early and chilled out at the awesome venue helping our new friends Laura and Maria cook dinner for everyone before the show kicked off at around 10:30pm, also joining us on the lineup were John Makay from France who we’d played with about a year ago In Hazebrouck. Cheap Jazz had the unenviable task of following John Makay’s amazing set but they did a brilliant job of it and everyone really enjoyed it.
Day 5 – Bernburg , Germany
Day off for the “Captain Jazz” tour and a night on for A-tota-so instead.
We were joining UK based bands Djevara and The Andy K show at the student campus bar called u-boot in Bernburg, Germany. So the rest of the lads dropped me and Jamie off for soundcheck while they went and stocked up on food and drinks. It was a really cool little venue and had a great vibe.
Andy K opened the show with quite possibly one of the most mental sets we’ve ever seen. Throwing himself around the place into walls and destroying all his gear in the process.
Our turn next to play our second ever show, it got off to a good start and people seemed to be enjoying it and then I broke a string and had to borrow a guitar that wouldn’t stay in tune for me. Last song of the set we got Andy k to join us in making some noise before Djevara took over and launched into an epic set.
After the Djevara set it was decided that we needed to try get a Cheap Jazz and ATC show. The bar manager was up for it but by the time we’d got the van and started unloading gear the crowd had dispersed and made their way to the next party so we gave up and proceeded to get destroyed at the student party/club instead and damn did we ever get destroyed!!!!
Day 6 – Prague, Czech Republic
|Alright The Captain|
After getting up later than planned and very confused (but with no hangover whatsoever) Ash, Phil and Todd filled me in on the blanks from the night before and we finally plucked up the courage to set off again, vague memories all the while returning of drinking endless shots with a polish guy, knocking over expensive speakers at our kind host Martin’s flat and talking lots of shit later we found our way back to the van to find the cheap jazz lads who had left a pool of sick outside the student cafe and were looking worse for wear. U-boot truly wrecked us and we had a massive drive ahead to look forward to just to make us all feel that bit happier…YAY!
And so another long day spent in the van we eventually made it to the venue around 9pm. This meant we were met at the venue doors and ushered straight on stage for about 9:30. After a weary start we played well to a great crowd. ATC’s set was possibly loudest and noisiest set to date; after Marty’s crowd invasion they got asked to play an encore before the gig ended on a high with another UK band UpCDownC (who have recently signed to Field records alongside ATC) headlining and the huge bag of homegrown weed on our rider.
The longest drive of the tour we’d been dreading was looming so most of us slinked off to bed about 1am but Captains Ash and Todd kept the party going taking advantage of the 1 euro mojitos (which later turned out to be a lie as they’d messed up with their conversions and they were actually 4 euro each hahaha).
Day 7 – Ghent, Belgium
Waking up at 4 as planned, we all went instantly back to sleep for an hour.
Waking up at 5 we reluctantly got up, whoever had time had a shower and we loaded the van and prepared to go by buying bread, meats and cheeses along with a variety of other snackage from a strangely stocked shop down the road. (And lots of energy drinks). The drive was quoted as 8.5 hours on google maps but ended up taking us 15 hours, whilst waiting in a service station for the van to cool down we met another group that had driven from Gambia and were heading to Barcelona, this made our drive seem not so bad!
After an arduous drive, finally getting to the venue at 9 meant once again we had to do the ten minute challenge loading in and setting up. ATC returned the favour from the night before and went on first. The venue was small but everyone was loving it and after the understandable stumbles to start with they played a great set with new song ‘Hurt Burger’ finally being the highlight it should be. After the show our tastebuds were treated to a cinnamon baked apple with meatballs and pumpkin mash. A strange combination but it was fantastic and exactly what we all needed.
Whilst picking up the van from our parking space it became clear that the van’s brakes had finally stopped working and so an interesting drive through the tight, medieval style streets of Ghent followed with everyone holding on and keeping quiet until we came to rest near to where we were staying.
Day 8 – Caen France
Waking up from a cracking sleep we decided to cash in on our breakdown insurance and find out how bad the beast had got, Jamie spent a while on the phone,we had breakfast and waited for the mechanic to come. Upon his arrival the man got under the van and took one look at the brakes and laughed, we asked if it would get us to Caen and his reply was that it would be “Suicide” so we had to make arrangements for a tow truck and a car to take us to Calais and get us on an earlier ferry meaning we had to cancel our last show in France and so with heavy hearts we headed back inside and listened to some more tunes with our wonderful host Luc in his cozy apartment. Luckily for us we had broken down in comfort rather than by the side of a road.
Day 9 – Derby
One final show back home in Derby for Halloween night, we played the Old Bell on Saddlergate with the exceptionally awesome Kaliguah (a 2 piece from Derby that none of us knew existed before but are bloody glad we know exist now) and a French post-rock/noise duo called Generic.
It was a great night to finish the tour with lots of people making the effort to join us in the halloween spirit by getting dressed up. All the bands played great sets and there was alot of partying done. Generic crashed at my house after the show and kept me and Todd in stitches til the early hours with their banter, they had very clearly just begun their tour as they necked shots of Absinthe & “water of life” into the early hours before it was time to crash and our own tour was officially at an end with a dreaded return to the office in the morning 🙁
We’ve all had a brilliant time driving round with some good friends, meeting awesome new people and playing with some excellent bands along the way.
Thanks to everyone who put us on, fed us, gave us a place to stay and came along to any of our shows while we were on this trip…see you again early in 2012!